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Inside the Business Analytics Practicum: Students Deliver Insights and Innovative Ideas at Showcase

Undergraduate students impressed executive leaders from Home Depot, Sparck Technologies, and Thought Logic Consulting with the results of their semester-long business analytics challenge.
Students explain their data insights to executives from Thought Logic Consulting and Sparck Technologies.

Students explain their data insights to executives from Thought Logic Consulting and Sparck Technologies during the Business Analytics Practicum Showcase.

Overcoming messy data, an overabundance of data, seeming dead ends, and tight deadlines made ultimate success all the sweeter for the undergraduate students taking the Business Analytics practicum.

“What I loved about this class is that it was not your typical curriculum-based, PowerPoint lecture series,” said Richie Tran, a third-year Scheller undergraduate concentrating in Information Technology Management. “We were thrown out there into the wild world of real data and asked to use our creativity, critical thinking, and technological tools to solve the problem.”

“We definitely hit some dead ends,” added Lucas Ruggieri, a member of Team Tech Savvy Insights. “That’s part of what made the class so amazing. Dr. Fan and our MBA mentor were there to help us, but they didn’t give us any answers. Just like in the business world, we had to figure it out for ourselves.”

During the semester, the four student teams delved into the data, gaining real-world experience as they prepared, then presented their data insights at the end-of-semester Showcase. Two student teams worked on the challenge for Home Depot, with two additional teams completing the challenge for Sparck Technologies.

“The Showcase provided an excellent finale for the class,” said Ean Girault. “Of course, it’s important to be able to extrapolate insights from the data, but it’s just as important to be able to communicate what those insights mean to the C-suite.”

All of those in attendance at the Showcase—students, mentors, Professor Jonathan Fan, and executives—praised the practicum and the real-world experience it provided.

"In our class, we use a flipped classroom approach that really opens up creativity and sharpens analytical skills,” said Professor  Fan. “Our students dive into real-world business problems, which boosts their communication skills and business savvy. They learn to think on their feet, using data analysis to create real value in the business world. It’s amazing to see them tackle these challenges, especially since they’re undergraduates. They’re not just learning—they’re doing, and that’s what makes the difference."

In addition to helping the students prepare for the workforce, the practicum also proved valuable for the sponsor companies.

“The experience was extremely valuable for Sparck,” said Sales Engineer Jona Amssoms.  “Not only did it show we can use the data in unique ways but the students brought a fresh perspective to how we measure this data and understand the productivity and health of the Sparck machines. Having a dashboard will improve the visibility of the Sparck machines and help our service engineers assist our clients quicker and more efficiently.”

The Showcase was broken into two nights, with the Sparck teams going on the first night and the Home Depot teams presenting on the last night of finals. The final Home Depot Showcase ended with a surprise visit from Scheller Dean Anuj Mehrotra who thanked the Home Depot executives for their support of experiential education at Georgia Tech. 

Throughout the semester executives from Home Depot, Thought Logic, and Sparck Technologies made themselves available to answer questions and provide relevant background information. Executives attending the Showcase included  Michael Carpenter, Hayden Dessommes, Iv Dennard, and James Dorris (Home Depot); (Thought Logic) Leslie Thomas, Bryant Griffith, and Kylie Amssoms (Thought Logic); and Jona Amssoms (Sparck Technologies).

Congratulations to all the students for a great semester and big finish!

 Techsavvy insightsTechSavvy Insights (Home Depot): Anish Yennam, Business Administration – ITM, Team Leader, Ethan McCoy, Business Administration – ITM, Lucas Ruggieri, Business Administration - ITM, and Hana Weji, Economics. (Not pictured Victor Sabioni, MBA Mentor).

 Boxsters teamThe Boxsters (Sparck): Joshua Oluwademilade Hambolu, Business Administration - ITM; Lake Boyer, Business Administration – ITM, Team Leader; Brian Chen, Industrial Engineering; and Ean Girault, Business Administration - ITM. (Not pictured Narin Smith, MBA Mentor)

wet paint watchersWet Paint Watchers (Home Depot): Hector Melendez, Biomedical Engineering; Bri Abreau, Biomedical Engineering, Team Leader; Jasper Pilkenton, Business Administration – ITM; and Richie Tran, Business Administration - ITM. Not pictured: Davis King, MBA Mentor

 Scheller Sparck SquadronScheller Sparck Squadron (Sparck): Cindy Wei Zhou, Business Administration - ITM, Ruben Lechuga Gonzalez, Business Administration - ITM, Aidan Peairs, Aerospace Engineering, Team Leader; and Devarshi Patra, Business Administration – ITM. Not pictured: Jeffrey Campey, MBA Mentor


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